Yes, I know LeBron deserves top-billing today, but for personal reasons I simply can't bump the Billy Donovan story beneath today's lead item...
Billy Donovan leaves the Florida Gators and college basketball for the Orlando Magic and the NBA. I tried to sort out my many thoughts on it, but they still come out in a jumble of half-thoughts (oh, and in Deadspin guest-posts on the topic)...
*After winning two national titles, Billy has earned the cred to do whatever the hell he wants without
*I appreciate the money factor, but is $5.5 million really that much more than the $4-plus million
*I respect the fact that he sees coaching in the NBA as a "challenge," but I just don't see the lure (if you take out the money). Coaching in the NBA kind of sucks. Unless you luck into a Jordan/Pippen or Shaq/Kobe (Phil Jackson) or a Duncan (G. Popovich), the best you can do – the best! – is be the next Jerry Sloan, who is best-known for (a) homophobia and (b) not winning an NBA title. I'm curious to see whether Billy's style -- which was a perfect fit for the college game -- translates at all. And, even if it does, if he derives the same joy from it.
(Now, that said: If you were going to join an NBA team, it doesn't hurt to have your centerpiece player be the best post player in the East. Given a little better supporting talent – no, NOT Vince Carter – Dwight Howard could make the Magic a perennial contender for an East title. By the way, I loathe to say it, but JJ Redick is the big winner here. Donovan will have that guy jacking 3s all night.)
To summarize: I get that the money was sick. I get that he had little left to truly prove in college. I get that he was intrigued by the new challenge, particularly with an emerging big man to work with as a cornerstone. I get that, of any NBA job, one geographically closest to his family was the most ideal.
But I go back to what he has built at
To walk away from that? Wow. I wouldn't. I wish him the best, but I won't be surprised if he's back in college by 2012 (in my nightmares, taking over the reins at Duke from a retiring Coach K).
Who should the Gators get to replace Donovan? To me, the answer is easy: VCU's Anthony Grant. He was Donovan's lead assistant for the first title team. He knows the system and the players and the
LeBron Rules: OK, LeBron has re-asserted himself as the uber-star of the playoffs. And he might have just single-handedly saved the NBA Playoffs. He put the Cavs on his back and put on one of the single-greatest one-man shows in NBA Playoffs history.
48 points (29 of the Cavs' final 30 points!) leading
(Now: As experts throw out that "85 percent of teams that win Game 5 in series tied 2-2 win the series," consider that the Cavs were up 3-2 on
There were a lot of questions about LeBron's willingness to dominate throughout this season, these playoffs and even the early games of this series. No more: Last night, LeBron transformed into Optimus Prime.
Spelling Bee: Evan O'Dorney is your champ, though you might not have known it from his less-than-enthusiastic reaction. It wasn't stunned silence; it was matter-of-fact... even boredom. I'm not sure you'll ever see a champ crowned – in ANY competition – with less enthusiasm than O'Dorney showed.
(I have to admit: He made me wonder if perhaps the flip-side to his savant-level abilities in math, music and – obviously – spelling, he has a wee bit of a personality disorder. I guess they might go hand-in-hand. I don't say that in any way to mock him or be cruel; I actually felt a little bad for him that he seemed to find little joy in the accomplishment. I did, however, find it amusing that his understated demeanor totally threw off Stuart Scott in the post-win interview session.)
(By the way, I was so happy to be proven wrong about Mike and Mike's participation at the Bee. First, they treated the event with the earnest dignity it deserves. Second, I had presumed they would be the lead broadcast team. ABC was much better off playing it straight with the team of the excellent Robin Roberts and whoever that Bee analyst was.)
Oh, and don't forget to check out the Bee's All-Name Team, courtesy of Name of the Year.
MLB Stud: Roy Halladay, wins 100th career game and blanks the White Sox in his return from the DL. Welcome back to the AL East's best pitcher.
MLB Dud: Jason Giambi, who went to the DL with arch problems. Yes, if "arch problems" means "looming slap-down from MLB over 'roids." (Could miss a month, though speculation is that it could run even longer.)
Yankees-Red Sox: Ugh... again? Take a swig every time Clemens' name comes up.
MLB Trade: Armando Benitez shipped from the Giants to the Marlins. I'm not sure there's a more frustrating closer in baseball in the last decade. Anyone whose team has used Benitez can understand that.
NFL: Concussions linked to depression. That makes the league's new, seemingly sincere effort to manage its concussion epidemic all the more important.
Vick Watch: The prosecutor says informants link Vick to dog-fighting, which sports fans already knew from intrepid reporting by ESPN and SI. The question is whether merely being indicted (not convicted or even prosecuted) will trigger a suspension from NFL Commissioner Roger "Get-Tough" Goodell.
Trent Green Watch: I think the Dolphins will eventually get him. Man, how stupid does
More NBA: The Suns are going to hire TV analyst Steve Kerr as President and GM. (Funny: He apparently didn't say a word about it during the Pistons-Cavs game last night. How freaking lame of him is THAT?)
Related: So when is a sports team going to hire a smart, businss-savvy blogger to run the show? No: Really.
Pacers hire Jim O'Brien: Yawn. Charter member of the NBA Coaching Recycling Program. Good luck to him when they ship out Jermaine O'Neal. You can already hear the players griping about O'Brien's heavy-handed style.
BCS Reform: I think the SEC presidents should do a live web-cast of
Horse Racing: Street Sense won't race at
Tennis: Venus KO'ed at French Open. Eh: Ping me when Federer and Nadal meet in the men's final.
Golf: I don't care if Michelle Wie lied about her "wrist injury" to drop out of the Ginn Tribute before achieving the crappy score that would trigger the DQ rule that would keep her out of LPGA events for the rest of the season. She did the smart thing.
Athletes Who Blog: Welcome to the club, Kevin Youkilis (One of my favorite players, despite the fact he plays for the Red Sox. The overriding factor is that he plays for "my team," if you know what I'm saying. If you don't, then what I'm saying is that Youk is the rare Jewish Major Leaguer, and I root for all of them... especially the ones on pace to be All-Stars.)
Politics: One more reason to love Barack Obama? He's a pick-up basketball junkie. Check out this story.
Movies: "Knocked Up" is going to be the biggest comedy hit of the summer. And nothing else will be close.